My old friend Duncan Glen died yesterday morning. As a poet, publisher and man of letters, he was a major figure in the Scottish literary scene. As a young man he had met Hugh MacDiarmid, Norman MacCaig, Sydney Goodsir Smith and many other significant Scottish writers, and ended up publishing many of them, using an old letterpress machine. A trained compositor, he became a master of typography and book design, which he taught at what is now Nottingham Trent University.
He founded Akros Publications as long ago as 1965, and up until a few months ago he was still actively publishing new pamphlets, and his magazine Zed2O, which published reviews, poetry and a wide range of articles on Scottish literature and culture. Like the man, it was unique.
He was a great encourager of new writers, and a friend to many others. He will be sorely missed. For a fuller biography please see the Akros website, which I built and maintained on his behalf.
He and I used to discuss many things – he was a great conversationalist – but one of the topics we came back to often was typography, and how the choice of typeface should reflect the needs of the individual publication. I have his textbook on the history of type, and it’s a thoroughly researched book with copious examples which made his points well.
He was an easy man to like, and a great one to have as a friend.